Enigmatic Uplifts in Echus Montes
Enigmatic Uplifts in Echus Montes
ESP_064474_1900  Science Theme: Volcanic Processes
The surface of these mounds on Mars have cracked in a pattern reminiscent of cracks in the crust of bread (not the cheap fluffy stuff in a bag but the nice stuff from the bakery). This indicates that these hills, named the Echus Montes, were lifted up by the swelling of their interiors.

Such swelling could be the result of groundwater freezing or rising domes of salt. But the more likely scenario is that the mounds sit atop injections of magma. Geologists call such mounds that have been pushed up by magma “laccoliths.”

This HiRISE image looks at a particularly complex set of fractures on the surface. These appear to record multiple overlapping episodes of fracturing which might mean that this mound was uplifted by multiple separate intrusions of magma that occurred at different times.

Written by: Lazlo Kestay  (1 June 2020)

This is a stereo pair with ESP_064830_1900.
Acquisition date
28 April 2020

Local Mars time

Latitude (centered)

Longitude (East)

Spacecraft altitude
273.3 km (169.8 miles)

Original image scale range
54.9 cm/pixel (with 2 x 2 binning) so objects ~165 cm across are resolved

Map projected scale
50 cm/pixel and North is up

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Emission angle

Phase angle

Solar incidence angle
58°, with the Sun about 32° above the horizon

Solar longitude
191.3°, Northern Autumn

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North azimuth:  97°
Sub-solar azimuth:  354.3°
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All of the images produced by HiRISE and accessible on this site are within the public domain: there are no restrictions on their usage by anyone in the public, including news or science organizations. We do ask for a credit line where possible:

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The HiRISE camera was built by Ball Aerospace and Technology Corporation and is operated by the University of Arizona.